Mr Darius Ishaku, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, said training of 100 Niger Delta youths on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills would commence on Sept. 15 in Calabar.
Ishaku stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said the ministry would carry out the exercise in collaboration with Swift and Just Nigeria Ltd, a private consultancy firm.
According to the minister, youths from the nine oil-producing states will undergo the training meant for non-militant youths, especially the unemployed.
â€œThis initiative places emphasis on vocational training tailored towards providing the identified trainees with the needed essential skills and competences to become active players in their chosen sector of the economy,â€™â€™ he said
Ishaku, however, said that Information Technology remained one of the biggest sectors in Nigeria that could engage the nationâ€™s teeming youths gainfully.
He said statistics had shown that some 44 million Nigerians subscribe to mobile phone services.
â€œMany people own more than one cell phone; the sector is viable,â€™â€™ the minister said.
â€œTo run an e-based or knowledge-based economy requires technicians who can provide services to repair damaged ICT facilities.
â€œThe hardware and software are easily available in Nigeria and also in the Niger Delta region.â€™â€™
The minister noted that imparting the necessary skills in the youths is imperative for meaningful development of the country.
â€œWith more than 100 million active phone users and some 50 million persons having access to the Internet, phone assembly plants are therefore the best investment for youths to benefit from.â€™â€™
He explained that the ministry came up with idea of phone assembly plants as part of its ICT policy to key into President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s Transformation Agenda.
â€œMr President has been so passionate about the people in the Niger Delta region; it was
on the strength of his transformation initiative that the Ministry had made progress so far,â€ he said
According to the minister, Jonathanâ€™s aggressive youth empowerment programme, with ICT as a key component, indicates governmentâ€™s determination to transform the country and improve the lots of youths.
He also said that the ministryâ€™s efforts to complete its projects had, however, been hampered by paucity of funds.
It will be recalled that the ministry recently graduated 100 Niger Delta youths in Batch A of its Skill Acquisation programme.
They were trained to assemble phones, I-Pads and other information technology gadgets, and given N100,000 each to start their own businesses at the end of the three-week training. (NAN)